Whether you are a seasoned Woman Wanderer or have just booked your first trip (congratulations!), we can all do with some tips to make sure our trip goes smoothly and we gain confidence as female solo travelers. These are simple, but they can really be a game-changer when you are going it alone.
10 Tips for Female Solo Travelers in 2019
1. Find your solo travel style
To make sure things go to plan (or not) find out what sort of Woman Wanderer you are. Do you like to find out about your destination down to the smallest detail? Do you have everything planned for each day? Or do you like to book a few nights at your destination and play it by ear? Being Uber-organised or Uber-relaxed can be overwhelming if it’s not your style of travel. When first starting out, pick your destination with intent. As you gain more experience you will find your style and will relax into a rhythm. If you need help you can browse the itineraries here at Global Women on Tour to help you plan anything from an afternoon in Paris, a day at the beach or a country tour through Uzbekistan.
2. Help people return your lost camera
Of all the things I travel with, I would say my passport and camera (phone or DSLR) are the most important. My photos are priceless and so I make sure that if I lose them, they will be returned to me. For your phone, make sure your camera roll is automatically backed up via your media storage account. For your camera, write down all your contact details on a piece of paper and take a photo of it as your first photo. Then if people find your camera, they will be able to trace you.
You can also try an easy to use carrying case that fits your camera, passport and all those snacks you should have on hand (see #1). Things like this holster camera bag that slides over your shoulder or this everyday basic backpack can help you carry all the things you need without a lot of bulk. If you have a system for keeping track of your camera, it lowers your chances of losing it.
3. Have an imaginary husband
Whatever your marital status, it’s always nice to have an imaginary husband when traveling solo. Sometimes, if I get unwanted attention, I tell people my husband is at the hotel or is meeting me later. If I am being bothered by 100 taxi drivers at the airport all wanting to give me a cheap ride, I tell them my husband is picking me up. I have also heard women wear a wedding ring to make men think twice about approaching them. If you handle yourself with confidence and self-control (even if you have to fake it) and are aware of your surroundings at all times, you should be able to avoid dangerous situations and navigate any unwanted attention.
4. Take a photocopy of your passport
When traveling internationally, it is good practice to not bring your passport out with you each day. It’s best to leave it in the hotel safe where it is well, safe! But because of this, it is also good practice to keep a photocopy of your passport with you. If you get into trouble it is so much easier to contact the embassy when you have all your details to hand. So keep a copy of your information page with your travel documents and keep it with you when you go out.
5. Have your favourite travel snacks at the ready
When you are solo traveling, you are the only problem solver you can rely on. And problems always seem a little more daunting when you are hungry. If your accommodation has been double-booked, your driver drove away with your phone in their car, or if you just need to ask for the WiFi password in a different language; facing these problems can be a lot easier when you’re not thinking about food. Having your favourite snack handy can help you calm your nerves and focus. So sit down, have a bite or two and then you can think straight, solve your problem and move on.
If you are like me, taking selfies is still something you are not comfortable with. I look around to see who is watching (thinking I’m vain) and then I take a quick photo to be done. The outcome of such photos is usually not that great with a crooked layout or blurred focus. I read a tip recently which will up your selfie game. We all know to ask someone to take a photo of us, (ask a female solo traveler!) but the clever part is that we take a photo of them first, exactly as we want our photo to be (composition, lighting etc.). Once they see the outcome of their fantastic photo, they will know exactly how you want your own photo taken.
8. Surround yourself with other female solo travelers
When first taking the plunge into female solo travel, it can be scary. No matter how you came to the decision, you will feel a mix of emotions. Sometimes you just need other female solo travelers to tell you to go for it, or look at their photos to remind yourself why you booked that trip. Join some solo travel Facebook groups and find your tribe of women solo travelers who have your back. They will understand why you want to go solo, and will be more than happy to recommend places off the beaten track for you to explore. You can check out Women Wanderings Facebook group page geared toward female solo travelers over 40 and try the Global Women on Tour FB page for female travelers of all ages. Once you share an itinerary with Globalwot you will also be added to the VIP FB page where women share insiders info on all the places they’ve traveled. There is so much out there, that any place is a good place to start.
9. Mix it up
Female solo travel does not have to be completely on your own, unless you want it to be. Small group tours can be a great way to get the best of both worlds. The independence and free time you need to explore or relax by yourself, and the comfort of knowing there is a group like Woman Wanderers who have your back and are there to share new experiences. Tours can range from one day to a few weeks and can be a good way to start out with your own solo travel.
10. Follow your gut instinct
Solo travelers do take risks, but we also learn when to walk away from something if we do not feel comfortable. Whether it be unwanted attention by men, or you booked a tour and then realised you do not really want to share a homestay with a group of young people. Saying no is not a failure. It is actually a hard thing to do, and even if you actually would have been safe, it’s best to follow what you feel and say NO when inspired to do so. Owning yourself and your choices will give you more power as a female solo traveler.
Links – www.womanwanderings.com coming 5th October